Sydney's about to get a taste of the psychiatrist's life.
It's not a life you'd expect. Awkward Productions strip it all back in a murderous, sexy, sarcastic and comedic piece of theatre called 'Allen', where all your questions about the field of psychiatry will be answered, more or less.
Here, Stewart McMillan (Creative Director and Writer/Director) answers some questions about the show.
This is a show that Sydney audiences have not yet seen… What are they in for?
Full-frontal nudity, fire and confused farm animals! Not really… We weren’t allowed to do any of that. Sydney audiences can expect two actors, nine characters and ninety minutes of a dark, provocative, sarcastic, sociopathic trip into a psychologists slowly breaking psyche… We promise it’s a comedy.
You're behind not only Awkward Productions but you wrote and directed 'Allen', too! Where did the idea for this show come from?
Allen has been a re-occurring character of mine now in two previous productions and I wanted to know more about him. Where did he come from, why is he the way he is and are his parents really to blame? He’s just so much fun to write for, he’s kinda my outlet as he says the things we’d all like to say but also does the things we shouldn’t even think to do to people... As he’s a sociopath, haha. So 'Allen' is an origin story.
Are there any themes or points in the show that directly relate to you?
Not as such, I mean, you can only write what amuses you and makes you laugh and I just loved the idea that there must by psychiatrists out there that, at some point, need their own psychiatrist. After years of listening to other people’s problems, they must develop their own… Or even start to agree with their patients!
How was it to put this show together after the idea came to you?
I love that process; starting with an idea, whether it be a character, a theme, a sentence etc and just watching it grow. It doesn’t always take shape the way you pictured it, this is actually the third version of 'Allen'. But getting to hand a script to an actor and watch them psychically create your character; hear their voice, watch them move. It’s special.
What have been some of the challenges you've faced in putting together and presenting 'Allen'? And on the other side of that, what have been some of the rewards?
All shows present unique challenges and 'Allen' was no different. Being the “difficult third album” I think I personally found it a challenge to just believe in what I was doing was good enough. I had to learn to stop second and third guessing myself. Being able to perform to sold-out audiences for our preview season at HOTA, on the Gold Coast and then take the show to the Adelaide Fringe in March certainly helped. My own reward is simply hearing the audience react each night and I can’t wait to see what Sydney thinks once they meet Allen.
In an ideal world, what are audience members thinking and feeling as they leave 'Allen'?
I’d like to think they’d be feeling uneven amounts of hungriness and horniness… I’m not sure why, I just think it’d take a unique show to effect people that way. But, ideally I just want people to have had a good laugh, be a little shocked and quote jokes back and forth to each other as they head home or to the bar.
Describe 'Allen' using a quote from the show, if you can.
“Try to understand this, whatever you’re going through right now; all your little high school issues, mummy issues, daddy issues… Body issues. As you get older you’ll realise… Things get worse. Things get much, much worse...”
'Allen' plays The Warehouse Stage Two from 25-29 September.